Father David's Reflection for Friday of the Fifth Week in Lent
The Responsorial Psalm brings to mind a fundamental principle of the spiritual life, a truth we need to know: sometimes we enter into our deepest, most certain knowledge of God when he seems farthest away. "In my distress I called upon the Lord and he heard my voice" (Psalm 18).
Jeremiah 20: 10-13 shows us Jeremiah surrounded by enemies: "Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him." Even his friends have turned against him: "All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine."
The effect of this was to make Jeremiah focus on his true source of security, and on the "steadfast love" of God which never fails: "But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion." When God's help is least apparent, when no human evidence tells us he is caring for us, that is when we have to go into the very depths of our hearts and ask if we believe. "O LORD. you test the just, you probe mind and heart.." And there we experience that our faith and trust do not depend on any human signs that God is with us. We realize that we simply know God is reliable. In this we experience our faith as a divine gift.
In Luke 10: 31-42 Jesus gives three reasons for believing in him, and the third is the rock-bottom one. The first is the way he acts, including his miracles: "Even if you do not believe me, believe the works..." The second is the testimony of those whose own lives make them credible witnesses to truth: "Many said, 'John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.'" And the third, the most important reason is simply Jesus himself, what he is. The others are just backups for this: "Even if you do not believe me.." (see John 4:48). The fundamental reason is just that by the divine gift of faith, given to us if we are open, we just know. This is the test that reveals the deepest orientation of our hearts. If we truly love God, we will recognize truth and goodness in Jesus: we will believe and we will know. If we don't recognize his truth it is a sign that our hearts are not sincerely seeking truth and dedicated to love (John 3:18; 5:38, 44, 46; 10:26; 12: 35-50; Galatians 2:16;
Sometimes we do not get in touch with the deepest level of our faith until all other levels fail us. In the absence of human motivation we realize our motivation is divine. In my distress I called upon the Lord and he heard my voice.
1 This doesn't enable us to judge others. Many are surrendered to God in faith, but have a mental or emotional block against what they perceive as Christianity. They believe in Jesus without knowing it.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Get in touch with the real reason why you believe..